Yeh, sorry James Martin, but I can’t possibly believe you. James recently claimed on his Great British Adventure that he’d eaten the best scampi in the UK but I’ll be gobsmacked if it’s better than the dish Mr M & I shared on during a lunchtime feast looking out to the North Sea from the Seaview Restaurant. Don’t think we’re tight as ticks, mind, we only shared so we could try more dishes on the menu – read on for proof 😉
Whilst working around the country on Your Home Made Perfect, we’ve resolved to try and find on point seafood gaffs to offset the hard work. One of the homes to be transformed (you’ve watched the show right??) is up in Stockton and a quick search of the area brought up the delightful Victorian seaside town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, which apparently had a cracking seafood place right on the front. It’s up on the North East coast just south west of Middlesborough and north of Whitby, which is of course the connection between James’s claim and this review – both dishes share the commonality of Whitby scampi, the best in the UK. So, I deliberately found a little Airbnb in Saltburn to allow us to scoot into the Seaview for lunch after our DIY duties were over and just before we headed back on the road to Manchester.
I totally knew we were in for a right good Northern day out when we parked up and passed this lot. No sun, grey skies, a bracing breeze, anoraks required, snuggle on a bench – so English, so perfect.
As we parked up on the ‘top road’ along the front, there’s nothing much to see, apart from sea, but I clocked a distant sign saying “Seaview” so headed over to it. First mistake – it was a retirement home, not the actual restaurant. Cue much hilarity. Rapidly moving on from this blonde moment, we peered over the railings to the beach below, and snaking along the coast, accessible by steep stairs or a rather fabulous funicular, saw a run of shops and scoffing stops framing the somewhat austere pier. Lots of dog walkers and a distinct used-by regulars-every-day feel. How lucky they are to have this on their doorstep.
Of course we rode the funicular down, which claims the best views for miles around but has literally no views, as you aren’t allowed to stand up. Brilliance.
Our flying visit didn’t allow for a bracing walk across the sands or up to the cliffs beyond on the Cleveland Way to the Charm Bracelet, but make time if you visit to walk off your lunch and grab a drink in the Ship Inn.
Enough talk of peripherals, let’s get onto the seafood! Walk this way…
To cram as much variation in as possible, we did that annoying couple thing of sharing starters. This is when the restaurant trade habit of grouping in three is a divorce instigating issue. Ever divided a scallop? Not easy.
Three plump scallops sitting atop creamy carrot puree, sliced through with peppercorns, lip tingling pickled veg and earthy hazelnut butter. Our eyes met across the scampi starter (actually a main but requested without the chips, at £8) and that imperceptible nod of This Is Going To Be Good took place.
Oh boy, and are they good. Scampi is officially the plural of scampo, the Italian name for the Dublin Bay Prawn or Norway lobster langoustine. Juicy chunks are traditionally deep-fryed in breadcrumbs and served with lemon and tartare sauce. The more expensive scampi is single wholetail (single pieces), then less costly is when up to three pieces can be layered together. It goes against the industry accepted code of practice to mush more together and sell it as scampi, but it is done. And it’s awful – that soggy, wet mush you sometimes get for a £5 meal in a pub chain. Bleugh.
Not so this Seaview dish. Seriously the best scampi I have ever tasted. Wonderfully grease-free breadcrumbs, crisp and holding in all the heat of juice of the whole tail langoustine. Succulent meat you could actually bite through it was so firm, and the taste? Out of this world. We finished it feeling completely ruined that no scampi dish would ever be this good again. May just have to visit James Martin’s Stapylton Arms recommendation to test this out, but until that happens, my call is that the Seaview does the best Scampi in the UK!
Little extra knowledge for you – did you know it’s said that scampi was invented by a canny chef in the post-war period when supplies of lobster were running short. The story goes that Manetta’s restaurant in London improvised with langoustines by coating them in breadcrumbs and deep frying them, hence the Italian name. A new British fav was born.
When is lunch really lunch? When you have a least 17,000 prawns in it.
The main courses are as spectacular in the Seaview as the starters. No seafood platter in this restaurant so we could try that for you. Instead, Mr M had his usual fish & chips and raved about the crispness of the batter and quality of the cod. A win for this dish.
Me, I plumped for the seafood linguine with mussels, clams, crevettes and king prawns. The amount of seafood in this dish was incredible, not like many restaurants where it’s sprinkled on top and then just pasta below, nope another pile of prawns were hidden underneath. I’d nearly had enough seafood by the time I’d finished. Nearly. Such good quality, twirlable, finger lickable, beautiful stuff. I could have had more chilli and garlic in mine, but that’s just personal preference. Was it as good as the seafood special in Sugo, Manchester (review coming up next week)? Maybe it didn’t have the intensity in flavour of the sauce, but in terms of enjoyability and freshness of ingredients, absolutely.
The staff are super friendly, nothing is too much trouble (like offering the scampi as a starter instead of a main – I think they should do this ALL the time!) and the interior is fun, well executed and brilliantly suited to it’s surroundings.
We’ll be back to try more from the menu when up that way again, with more of the scampi. And not to share. OBV.
I can’t recommend a lunchtime visit to Saltburn enough, I just wish we’d had longer to enjoy a walk on the beach and more of the local shops and pubs. Quite fancy sitting on their outdoor balcony next time enjoying the views over the beach, then having a really long walk, and eating more fish n chips from the takeaway below – double seafood whammy!
Thanks for a lovely few hours Saltburn by the Sea 🙂
If you fancy a lunch or dinner at the Seaview this is their website.
Also if you like your scampi but can’t travel to the North East, this range from Whitby Seafoods which I tried last week is pretty good for a frozen range. Nice backstory too!
This is not an #ad, we paid full price and they don’t know I’ve written this, btw x